• September 15th, 2016

The free rides in self-driving cars that Uber began offering in Pittsburgh Wednesday wouldn’t be allowed in California. In Michigan, legislators are considering changing a law that requires a safety driver to be behind the wheel of self-driving vehicles to handle unexpected or emergency situations. A Chicago alderman wants to ban them completely. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is still developing guidelines for states to consider when writing their laws for self-driving vehicles. Pennsylvania’s Autonomous Vehicle Task Force is waiting for those guidelines before it releases its own recommendations to the Legislature in November.

That hodgepodge of standards for self-driving vehicles is raising concerns among consumer groups and safety experts who say the laws are lagging behind the technology that is fueling the race among a handful of companies developing autonomous vehicles. The lack of strong rules is causing some to question the safety of Uber beginning to carry non-paying passengers.